Track and Field program in motion despite lack of facility


Katie Paterson, Assistant Sports Editor

In the spring of 2015, Marywood will begin its new track and field program, and already things are falling into place.

1. Hire a coach, check.

2. Start recruiting runners, check.

3. Build an outdoor track facility no check.

The university currently does not have an outdoor track facility, and at least for the immediate future, there are no plans to construct one. According to Dr. Mary Jo Gunning, director of athletics and recreation, it is not uncommon for Division III programs to be without a track facility.

“Many Division III schools will offer cross country but not track because of the facility. Part of it is the cost of a track, training equipment, and apparatus needed. It can be a pretty steep cost for a university,” Gunning said.

For the upcoming season, Coach Scott Hutchinson is working to secure locations for practices and competitions. This is not an unfamiliar situation for him. He has coached at other universities without a facility before, including Babson College. He said he welcomes the challenge and has alternatives in mind.

“We’re hoping to develop a relationship with one of the local high schools and get to a track two to three times a week,” said Hutchinson. “We have fields we can use and an indoor track that we can utilize and take advantage of. We’re going to improvise and do what we have to do.”

However, an outdoor track facility at Marywood is a possibility in the future.

“I’ve had a discussion with Dr. Gunning and Dr. Heath [vice president for student life] about an outdoor track. [I am] hoping to recruit hard and develop that in four to five years, but there is no guarantee or promises,”  said Hutchinson.

“My dream is to have our own outdoor track facility in time,” Gunning said. “There has been a lot of discussion. Marywood has just kicked off a campaign. There is nothing definite I can say at this time, but I can assure you it is an active discussion.”